Friday, June 27, 2008

Introducing the newest regular on KITV Morning News...

If you were standing next to me right now, you would be able to feel the energy exuding from my body. I am so excited! And as you probably know by now, when I get excited I use my hands a lot, so I’ll try to keep my hands down when I tell you that you are the first to know that as of next week Wednesday, July 2, Yours Truly is going to debut as the regular homestyle expert for KITV 4 Island Television News This Morning with Mahealani Richardson and Dan Meisenzahl. AAAAAAHHH!! I’m so excited!

I was on the show a few months ago (here's the clip in case you missed it: I had an absolute ball with Mahealani and Dan, and they told me they’d love to have me back. I said, Great! When?

Now I’ve got a regular slot sometime between 6:15 and 6:45 every other Wednesday morning. I’m going to be sharing tips with their viewers on how to add more style to their spaces.

They’re excited about it, we’re excited about it, and I hope you’ll be tuning in to watch! So tell your friends, wish me luck and I’ll see you bright and early next Wednesday morning!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Chocolate, anyone?

I’m talking about for your sofa! Hold on, let me explain.

After being cooped up so long recuperating and working in the office, I wasn’t about to cut short this outing with the RSVPstyle crew! So from IDS we decided to continue our shopping excursion a little bit more.

Joyce wasn’t the only friend to visit—Brett Sowell also has a fabric showroom in the Gentry Pacific Design Center, and boy, do I love his shop’s name: Johnny Mango! Doesn’t that sound delicious? Or maybe I’m just still hungry! His cute display didn’t help matters any. Right at his front entry he had a metal tree with ribbons and flowers, and dangling from the branches and strewn about the base were little pieces of chocolate! As I stuffed my face with Hershey’s with almonds, I managed to mumble, “What’s the deal with the chocolate tree?”

Brett explained that right now in fabrics, anything with chocolate is hot. Anything goes with chocolate—chocolate and pink, chocolate and blue, chocolate and apricot. As I was licking my fingers, I had to say that I would agree.

Another thing that’s hot is a classic that’s back in vogue—black and white. I asked Brett to be in my photo. He’s a little shy, but you know I’m not! With my black-and-white pants, I had to show that yeah, I know what’s hot! Black and white will always be in style, as I’m showing by modeling with one of Brett’s books from the Jab collection.

I slipped a few last nuggets of chocolate into my pocket. That’s it for today—I’m too full to shop any more!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Latest and greatest fabrics from Robert Allen

It’s always good to keep up with what’s new and exciting in the design and decorating world. Recently we were invited to a yummy luncheon presentation hosted by International Design Sources in the Gentry Pacific Design Center. I’ve relied on IDS’s huge array of amazing fabrics for years and gotten to know Joyce Yuson, who used to work in the office and has recently taken over the helm. I’m so proud of her and wanted to be there to support her. I know IDS is in great hands.

The event was a presentation on what’s happening at Robert Allen’s residential and contract lines. Robert Duban is vice president of Robert Allen Contract, a major provider of coordinated fabrics and finishes to hospitality, health care and corporate customers. He’s passionate about what he does and is just as friendly as can be. His wife is also an interior designer, and his daughter is in design school—I guess that passion just runs in the family!

I was blown away by what they are able to do. They have beautiful patterns and designs and fabrics that can be used in not only hotels, hospitals and model homes, where you need textiles that are extremely durable, but if you have a run of at least 30 to 100 yards, they can basically take any design you come up with and create a custom fabric.

They’re also able to knock off Beacon Hill, their exclusive high-end line of silks, jacquards and other exquisite fabrics that has been featured in all the top magazines. Whenever I’ve needed a special throw cushion or fabric, I’ve always been able to find something incredible at Beacon Hill. It can be quite expensive, ranging from approximately fifty to a few hundred dollars a yard. But they can now create the same look and design in a polyester that can go in a hotel or hospital. So gone are the days of boring prints where you’re paying less and it looks like it. You can take what you see on the cover of Architectural Digest and create that same fantastic designer look in the contract line for a fraction of the price.

What was really fun was when Robert showed us some prints that they’re in the process of selecting. Nobody has seen them yet. With so many interior designers in the audience, he was asking for our opinions, is this too big, is the scale too small? I can’t wait to see if what we voted on is going to come out in their next collection.

And the latest and hottest in fabrics? Robert did say stripes are big—literally big and bold. Contemporary is very hot, as we all know, as are vibrant colors. People are asking for velvet. There’s a lot of opulence and luxury, yet at the same time there’s an ongoing trend toward the natural and eco-friendly. Robert Allen even has a line called Pure Style, which is their first collection that’s designed to reduce environmental impact without sacrificing style.

The other thing I love is that they’ve just partnered with Larry Laslo, who has come out with four new books of incredible fabrics for them. Larry is an icon. He’s a New York designer who is known as much for his personality and flash as he is for his style. He’s designed exquisite spaces for Bergdorf Goodman in New York City and he’s been featured in every major magazine. He’s also known for his love of purple—he wears purple ties and even purple socks. The colors and designs in the books he’s created are timeless, stylish, yet cutting-edge.

So we had a great day, we got to catch up with Joyce, got to meet Robert, who is such a gentleman and a sweetheart, we had a great lunch, it was a fun day! We visited a few more places in the design center, and I found some other fabrics I fell in love with. I think I’ll do some shopping for myself—more about that later!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kudos, Kay and Nelson on a great MDA charity event!

Last night, Lissa and I were able to support great people and a great cause, we had fun, and we were inspired all at the same time. The event I’m talking about was a golf tournament and banquet put on by Primary Properties and Primary Residential Mortgage. Now as a non-golfer, how in the world did I have fun and get inspired, you ask? Well, let me tell you about this unbelievable evening.

First of all, it was co-hosted by Kay Mukaigawa, who is the owner and broker of Primary Properties. We first met Kay when she attended our big workshop back in February. She is just a burst of energy, a dynamic RSVPstyle supporter and one of the most sincere people you’ll ever meet. We’ve become fast friends. She’s someone I truly admire for her work ethic and business integrity.

We also had the great pleasure of meeting her equally dynamic and very significant other, cutie pie Nelson Oyadomari. They make such a great pair because they have the same drive and compassion. Nelson is the branch manager of Primary Residential Mortgage. The two of them, along with their employees, put on this huge event all day yesterday and into the evening—a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. This was their seventh annual golf tournament, and yearly they raise over $30,000 for MDA.

To me, the highlight was watching Kay and Nelson emcee. Those two need their own variety show—they are a crackup! They knew everyone by name, and as they were drawing winners for the hundreds of prizes, they would announce, this is such-and-such from such-and-such company, and they would tell a little bit about that person. What could have been a very long evening with the incredible number of prizes they had was just so entertaining. They raised a ton of money for MDA, and they made sure everybody had a smile on their face the whole time.

We were totally inspired. Kay and Nelson are as busy as two people can be. They have so many business and community commitments, and Kay even has an office in Tokyo and two teenage kids keeping her busy. With their incredibly demanding schedules, to put an event like this together drawing 300-plus people, to drum up hundreds of prizes and donations and spend months organizing every aspect—I know what it takes. I was blown away by how smoothly it went. You could just see how passionate they were about this cause and making sure that all who attended walked away happy and inspired.

This MDA golf tournament is just one of the many charities that they involve themselves and their companies in. We should all strive to be as community-minded. As a fledgling company, we’re not there yet, but we are working on plans to give back by helping charities that are near and dear to our hearts.

Great job, Kay and Nelson—you definitely are an inspiration!

P.S. You almost make me want to take up golf!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Say aahhh!

I'm officially back at work--minus my tonsils. And I don't know if this makes me sound like a baby, but I'm finally back on solid foods! For 10 days straight I had nothing but clear soups and smoothies, and if I never see another blended drink again, it won't be too soon. Hopefully this means I'll no longer be plagued with chronic throat problems, and my Bette Davis rasp will be put to rest forever.

Before I forget, I do want to wish all the dads out there Happy Father's Day! You may remember I made my mom a homemade Mother's Day card, glitter and all. Dad doesn't worry about me wasting $4.99 on a card, so I took the easy way out and bought him a Hallmark. He loved it because it came along with a gift-wrapped cologne set. I know, I know, not too original, but it is the thought that counts, right?

The tonsillectomy was a bit more complicated than anticipated, but while I was recuperating, there was a really bright spot. On Sunday, June 8, The Honolulu Advertiser ran a story on the front page of the Island Life section featuring Tracy Wong, one of our style students, and her amazing condo transformation. Treena Shapiro first contacted me about this story while I was in Los Angeles on a business trip. Now I try to make it a point to return business calls as promptly as I can, especially if the caller is a reporter! Treena asked if I had done any homes in the new Ala Moana/Kakaako condo corridor. I explained that I don't do people's places, but instead teach them how to do their own, and suggested she call Tracy.

Tracy had attended our big workshop in February to learn how to add more style to her space, and boy, did she! She did such an amazing job, Treena led off her story with her! But that wasn't the end of it--Treena decided to add a sidebar to make a full package out of the topic. I was flattered when she called again the day before my tonsillectomy. In between prepping work for my absence and planning out meals for my husband and daughter, I managed to come up with a few tips on how to add style to a small space.

If you didn't get a chance to read the feature package, here it is:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cathy well wishes and Style student successes

Hi everyone, it's Lissa. Just I thought I'd update you on what's going on at RSVPstyle. First of all, Cathy just went in for her tonsillectomy late yesterday afternoon. For those of you who came to our workshop in February, you may remember how sick she was. Well, she’s been battling throat problems for the past year and the doctor recommended a tonsillectomy to end all those nasty throat problems. So we hope this will work. We all want to send her best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Second, Cathy and Tracy, one of our Style Students, were interviewed for a feature story on people decorating their apartments in the new Kakaako high rise area. We’re told it’s going to be published in the Honolulu Advertiser Island Life section either this Sunday or next Sunday. Tracy was interviewed because she had just completed her beautiful apartment, which by the way is uploaded on our community site, and she did an incredible job. They also interviewed Cathy for tips on how to decorate in small spaces. So look for both of their stories in the Advertiser.

Boy, it's really quiet in the office. Get well soon Cathy! We miss you! Enjoy the sorbets and popsicles. I'll make you some of my ice cream.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pacific Home Furnishings Workshop

Wow! I am still coming off of the high from Saturday’s Shop with Focus event at Pacific Home Furnishings! We had a great time with the 30 RSVPstylers who came out and squeezed into the open floor space in the middle of the showroom.

Our main focus was on how to put fabrics together to add more interest and texture to rooms, with tips and pointers on how to get inspired and how to layer fabrics. There is nothing like having a class in a place like PHF! I could grab swatches right off the racks and show everybody EXACTLY why one combination worked and why another just didn’t. Makes such a difference when you can see it with your own eyes, right?

We also talked about the other benefits that PHF has to offer. I think by the end of the day everyone felt more comfortable and not as intimidated to utilize this great resource. I remember how overwhelmed I was the first time I walked into a showroom like PHF!

Being that everyone in attendance had our Deluxe Style Kit, this was something of an intermediate training session. And I was so thrilled to see most everyone prepared by putting their inspiration pictures in their organizers and bringing samples of elements from their rooms that they wanted to tie in with. It was fantastic to see everyone fully utilizing their style kits and workbooks! This is just what we made them for!

Then we went on and talked about area rugs which are one of my favorite focal points of a room and a great way to begin the inspiration process. PHF has a wide array of area rugs. We talked about how and why to select different styles for different rooms and did some great hands on examples with people who were there tying them into the elements they already had. We did some great examples with some people who were there, including Barbara Bahler, who is decorating a home in Arizona and in my opinion was the star of the day! She was so prepared, that one! She had her book SO well-organized, from her inspiration pictures, to her before pictures, to her furniture room layout, to the pictures of the sofa that she purchased. Everyone could see how her prep work made it so easy for us to select two area rugs that would work fabulously in her space.

And then we broke for lunch and I got to recognize some people. It just really tickled me that 16 out of the 30 people who attended—over half!—had attended three of the last three events we’ve had: our big workshop, our CS Wo Shop with Focus event, and now this PHF event. So we recognized them at lunch with a little house-shaped RSVPstyle cookie and took a picture with our sweet 16!

We started at nine and were supposed to end by three but kept working until about 5pm. It was a long day, but it was amazing. I loved every moment of it! And I SO appreciated the support of PHF and Ingrid Nelson and Robin Watanabe who were with us the entire day sharing their knowledge and their friendship with us. We will definitely be back again!